Recipes: Asparagus Quinoa Salad with Oh, Holy Basil

DSC_0725One of the greatest parts of food blogging is being able to connect with incredible artisans, makers and culinary creators  from around the world.  And if there’s one thing I’ve seen in this community – there are some seriously talented women out there shaping the way we eat, think, and feel about food! This year, I decided to launch a new series on the Vidya blog to highlight some of the kitchen goddesses out there who inspire me each day with their ingenuity of ingredients and artful presentation of nourishing cuisine.  This monthly “Seasonal Recipe Share” series will give us a peek inside each bloggers home recipe box and the many ways they each connect with their health through seasonal eating and living.

This month, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the sweetest of the sweet, Dillon Indira Tisdel of Oh, Holy Basil.  Dillon is my kindred spirit sister hailing from the high deserts of Taos, New Mexico. We kept brushing shoulders in Taos last summer when I was there for a quick adventure, sitting next to each other at the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and dining at the cutest local organic eatery before we even realized…through instagram!…that we knew each other and needed to meet in real life. Over homemade hibiscus tea and apricot jam raw cookies, we sat out on a blanket under the trees and shared stories of yoga, food journeys, Amma devotion and the synchronistic world we live in. It’s been a joy to connect with this magnificent woman.  Her recipes are the kind you bookmark and make over and over again, a truly nourishing and accessible resource to have on hand. This Asparagus Quinoa Salad with Herbed Meyer Lemon Pesto is guaranteed to become your spring staple! Welcome Dillon…

Hello, lovely people! Claire graciously asked me to be a part of this beautiful series and I am thrilled to be sharing a recipe with you today. Eating seasonally is a brilliant practice on many levels. Seasonal food is tastier (thanks, but no thanks, winter tomatoes) but it also reverberates with ancient familiarity. It just feels right. In fact, it didn’t used to be a thing, it was just called eating. Beyond making total intuitive sense, seasonal cooking syncs us with the seasons themselves. The seasons are a rhythmic framework of life and mirror a rhythm existing inside each of us. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are supported by seasonal food, as the earth evolves what it gives us in perfect accord with what we need. Have you ever eaten raw food all winter long? I have. I was really cold. In the process I found that shoveling snow is more aptly fueled by winter squash and steamy lentils.

DSC_0684But Spring! Spring is the moment of awakening and March teeters on the edge of this rousing. It’s still in the slumber of winter’s rest but full with the knowledge of new life. It’s a super beautiful moment, you guys, but the produce situation is a little rough. By now, winter squash feels a little played out, but nothing much is growing yet. Our health food store has, however, been brimming with asparagus. I decided to go with this early spring vegetable and pair it with the brightest remnants of winter: citrus. In this case Meyer lemon. Combined with some crisp radishes, pantry staples and leafy herbs, a late winter/early spring salad was born.

ImagesThis kind of meal has been feeling just right, hearty but not too heavy. Green, bright and grounding. It conjures all the excitement of almost-spring. I wish you much brightness as the light returns and we approach this vernal equinox. xo


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
4 scallions
3-4 radishes
2/3 cup green olives, pitted
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup of packed cilantro or parsley leaves, roughly chopped + more for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
a large handful of sunflower seeds, to garnish

In a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. When the water has come to a boil, add the quinoa, turn the heat down to low and simmer until all of the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the quinoa stand, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. (This step can be done up to a day ahead of time.) Scrape the quinoa out into a wide shallow bowl, allowing it to cool more quickly.

Wash the asparagus and cut it into 1-inch pieces on a bias. Steam for 3-5 minutes until tender but still quite firm. Remove from steamer basket and let cool.  Cut the white and light green sections of the scallions into thin slices. Julienne the radishes by cutting them into thin rounds and then thinly slicing the rounds into little sticks. Roughly chop the green olives and raisins and place everything in a large bowl.

When the quinoa has cooled place it in the big bowl along with the cilantro or parsley, the salt and pepper and the pesto (recipe follows) and toss until just combined. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. Garnish with some chopped herbs and sunflower seeds before serving.

Herbed Meyer Lemon Pesto
1/2 cup of cilantro leaves, packed
1/2 cup of parsley leaves, packed
1 small garlic clove
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Place all of the ingredients in the jar of a blender or food processor and blend until a smooth pesto forms. Refrigerate until ready to use.


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2 responses to “Recipes: Asparagus Quinoa Salad with Oh, Holy Basil”

  1. lemon meyer pesto – thats very unique. i love all things in bowl and this dish perfectly fit the bill.

  2. […] met Claire – of the beautiful wellness blog, Vidya – last summer while she was on a trip through Taos. After unknowingly circling each other […]

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